Dem Uses Gun Control Vote to Push for 'Broader Filibuster Reform'

By Craig Millward | November 26, 2013 | 11:27am EST

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) (AP)

( - Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) attacked Senate Republicans for “a total bastardization of the historic use of the filibuster,” and said 45 senators blocking expanded background checks is a reason for “broader filibuster reform.”

“[T]his rule change will end only some of that gridlock—I still believe that broader filibuster reform is critical to fixing a broken Congress. Back in April, just 45 Senators blocked a common sense measure to get guns out of the hands of criminals—something that 90% of the American people support. It is that kind of obstruction that should remind us that our work is not done to make sure that the people's will is done in the U.S. Senate,” Murphy said in a statement last week.

Murphy joins Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) in calling for broader filibuster reform. In April, an amendment sponsored by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) that would have required background checks on all commercial sales of guns failed in the Senate, receiving 55 instead of the 60 votes needed to move forward.

Last week, the Senate by a 52-48 vote, voted to eliminate filibustering of presidential appointments. Now, a simple majority instead of 60 votes are needed to move a presidential appointment forward. Democratic Sens. Carl Levin (Mich.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Manchin voted against this measure.

“You can shut down the government by refusing to fund it, but you can also shut it down by refusing to let people do the job of running it. That's effectively what Republicans have done by their record number of filibusters of President Obama's appointees and judicial nominees,” Murphy said.

“I supported today's rules change, because it's just common sense that the people that the President picks to work for him or serve in the judiciary deserve an up or down vote,” he added.

“For years, Republicans have used the filibuster to stop the Senate from voting on dozens of nominees, and that practice—a total bastardization of the historic use of the filibuster—needed to end,” Murphy said.

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